What's ROG playing this month?

Articles: Gaming
Jun 27, 2020 Written by:Chris_Barr

We’re back for another look at what members of the ROG team have been playing recently. We don’t just build the best hardware to play on—we spend a lot of time playing games, too. Keep checking back in every month as we discuss games that pique our interest, new and old alike.


Katherine Vu - Global Content

adaWhen things are stressful and I want to relax, there's nothing quite like unwinding with an old video game from my past. Revisiting game universes I loved when I was younger has been a theme for me recently. It's calming for me to visit worlds with characters I love, familiar rhythms, established rules, and a plot where I already know that every battle and twist will work out in my favor.
I had the opportunity earlier this year to take in a double feature that consisted of the original Final Fantasy VII, followed by a binge of the masterful Final Fantasy VII Remake. The glow of nostalgia has kept me warm in the months since, as I've revisited the remake on occasion to retry the fights and my favorites scenes on Hard and listen to that epic soundtrack one more time.
My next double feature of "something old and something new" is going to be Persona 4: Golden, which was just released on Steam, followed by Persona 5: Royal. These games are a mix of the daily social lives of wonderfully idealistic teenagers and Inception-style missions into the dark heart of humanity. I've always loved the basic plot behind Persona games, where it's possible to fix the wrongs of the world with a simple change of perspective. It is, truly, the only instance in which I'm fully on board with revisiting high school.

Eric Born - Content Marketing

ericI realized that I was in for a ride when I found myself researching electrical grids. My equipment was breaking down, and I couldn’t understand why until I noticed that I was sending a frightening amount of current down every wire in the colony. “Right,” I said to myself. “I can’t put everything on just one circuit!”

Thankfully, I came to this realization about my colony in Oxygen Not Included, not about the actual appliances in my home, where this error would have likely caused a fire. ONI is a two-dimensional colony building sim in which you tend to the needs of your adorable Dupes (printed humanoid clones) while slowly building up the capacity for space travel. You start the game after a crash landing on an asteroid. You need to get the basics of life together before you run out of oxygen. Or food and water, for that matter. 

Like all good colony sims, you only have to manage a few systems to get things started, but the gameplay gets increasingly deep as you advance your colony’s technology. It’s easy to get a little electricity flowing just by setting up a power-generating Dupe-sized hamster wheel, but once you fire up a coal generator, you have to plan for a stable supply of fuel and deal with the carbon dioxide and heat exhausted by the generator. It’s sheer problem-solving joy, an endless loop of interesting challenges that require new solutions that lead to still more challenges.

It took some trial and error to figure out how to give my Dupes a working bathroom, a temperature-controlled colony, and a way to explore the dim reaches of the asteroid without bringing home dangerous alien pathogens, but the game’s charming aesthetic and rewarding systems won me over immediately. If you’re already a fan of colony sims like Surviving Mars or Frostpunk, don’t miss out on Oxygen Not Included.

Chris Barr - Content Marketing

chrisAfter spending many hours in a virtual City 17 in Half-Life: Alyx, I decided it was time to revisit its predecessor, Half-Life 2. Since Alyx takes place directly before the events of this game, it’s the perfect thing to play after you’ve had your fill of the VR title.

Despite being released way back in 2004, Half-Life 2 is still a solid first-person shooter that holds up to the test of time. While the graphics do show their age, the game still looks fantastic on my ultrawide monitor. Details like facial animations and expressions breathe life into the characters you encounter, making the game feel more like a modern shooter than a classic from 16 years ago.

Throughout the entire game, you’re met with a sense of urgency as you work together to help your friends and ultimately attempt to take back control of the world from its new Combine overlords. While you pass through the dystopian City 17, you can hear ominous public broadcasts while catching glances at citizens being detained, questioned, and worse as you attempt to reach your destination. These are countered with brief periods of hope when you reunite with old friends, and though they don’t last long, they give you a peek into the lives of people working to put the world right again.

As good as Half-Life 2 is at telling a story, the gameplay is what set this game apart when it launched. While it may feel a little straightforward today, many of the elements found in this game can be found in even the most recent FPS titles. The physics puzzles, in particular, were something you didn’t see in previous first-person shooters. But from the first time you hear the words “pick up that can,” you know precisely what the game wants you to do. The game challenges you to use critical thinking in addition to your quick trigger as you make your way through the story. The game’s story continues in Half-Life 2: Episode 1 and 2, and if you have access to a VR headset, Half-Life: Alyx is a must-play title.